A family of Blue Macaws goes on an incredible journey to find more of their kind in the Amazon.
2011’s Rio was a basically entertaining but instantly forgettable animation, ticking all the boxes for 90 minutes youngster enthrallment – which pretty much amounts to talking animals, bright colours and musical numbers.
Fast forward three years and you’ve got a sequel, on the back of the first film somehow pulling down close to half a billion worldwide. And this time around things are very familiar indeed.
So you’ve got the bright colours, talking critters communicating and a few songs scattered around a feature that feels like its quite content to hit bask in the middle ground. That means doing little enough to appeal to an older audience and not lingering around too long.
The most forgettable aspect of Rio 2 is the central story, where Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) has to learn to man up or face losing his family. It’s hard to feel invested in the story of a neurotic bird, and its not helped by the fairly dull performances.
There’s more fun to be found outside of the main brood, particularly in the villainous element brought in by Jemaine Clement’s utterly batty Nigel and his complex, practically masochistic relationship with a poisonous tree frog voiced by Kristin Chenoweth. She gets the flick’s best song (‘Poisonous Love’) and the strongest visual stuff and the film lifts every time the evil trio are on screen. The third being a mute, tap dancing ant-eater. Its good stuff.
Elsewhere, Andy Garcia does a poor Al Pacino impression and there’s the inevitable soccer match for no real reason and a strained ecological message which forces you to believe that Leslie Mann can play a goodie. Oh and if you want to have a little more fun you could take note of the fact that Rio 2 is more or less Avatar – blue natives fighting back against invaders who are threatening their trees, a Romeo and Juliet style love story, even choreographed dancing and awkward mysticism. It’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.
Rio 2 isn’t a great animation – lacking the verve of Dreamworks best efforts, the witty warmth of Pixar’s or the top notch tunes of Disney. But it does its duty well enough, filling kids minds with saturated colours and characters, before fading out. When you see it on TV again in 5 years, you won’t remember your trip to the cinema.